Water as far as the eye can see. In the seventeenth century, canals and lakes determined the character of the Dutch landscape even more than they do today. Whereas fishing and pleasure boats dominate the foreground, mills and church steeples can be discerned in the distance. Salomon van Ruysdael even worked in the wet paint with the brush handle. The spatial expanse corresponds to the visual experience of the ‘low lands’. To enhance this effect, the uncle of the more famous Jacob van Ruisdael placed the horizon quite near the bottom: the cloudy sky occupies three quarters of the panel.